Feasibility Exploration uses the Business Model Canvas as a framework to explore the viability of a potential new business or product. The core of a Feasibility Exploration is formed by 3 major activities:
- Mapping: often this means articulating and thinking through concepts of which parts have been discussed for some while;
- Quantification: initial market sizing, estimation of revenue streams and costs to serve;
- Review: does it make business sense? What should we do next? Who needs to decide what?
The outcome is an initial view on whether a particular service or product is viable. It is usually used to take a decision on whether it is worthwhile to invest in further development of the product or service.
It is not a detailed plan or risk review; these are drawn up at a later stage of development.
When should I do Feasibility Exploration?
Feasibility exploration is typically executed as a concentrated process to test the viability of a proposed product or service. By mapping the 9 elements of the business model in a structured fashion, entrepreneurs can test the completeness of their ideas and determine whether a profitable business can be made from these.
For propositions of limited complexity, 1-2 days of intensive work with an appropriate group of people is typically appropriate. For maximum effect, this needs to be preceded by briefing and information gathering, and followed up by condensation of the results into a compelling story for stakeholders and financiers.
The method is most effective and efficient when condensed into a limited time period. The 1-2 days can be split into half day or evening blocks, but the process should be completed within 2 weeks to maintain momentum.
The feasibility exploration is facilitated by an experienced strategy consultant who combines an understanding of the tools and techniques used with process skills needed to run workshops and drive decision-making. The overall process has four steps:
In the Preparation step the consultant meets the entrepreneurs and their nominees, scopes what is required, briefs participants on the process and makes practical arrangements for the Workshops.
The Workshops step covers the three core activities mentioned above (Mapping, Quantification and Review) in 1-2 days of workshop sessions, which may be split into 4 hours blocks if needed. This part of the process tends to be iterative; the Review may point to the need to adjust some elements of the Business Model. The outcome of the Workshops is a completed Canvas with all supporting documentation identified. This is usually a large wall chart with Post-Its and supporting material, but may also be a chart generated by an iPad application.
The outcome of the Workshops is usually not ripe for communication to a broader audience and decision-making. The consultant therefore helps the entrepreneurs and other participants to convert the workshop outcomes into a coherent Storyline with well-structured supporting material. The result is then used by the entrepreneurs to support a Decision by appropriate stakeholders on next steps.
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